This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.
Whether it’s stress, allergies or just the change in seasons, it seems that everyone’s under the weather lately. Unfortunately for small business owners, it’s often hard to take a sick day – and even harder when your illness requires a longer break from doing your work. That’s why it’s essential for every Pro to ensure his or her business can remain functional even when its owner has to take a step back.
Here are my five steps to running your business smoothly even when you’re sick:
- Systematize your business as much as possible. This topic is covered well in business books such as Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week. The basic idea is that by simplifying your essential business functions into a series of clearly-defined systems (or standard operating procedures), it will be easier for you to prioritize your work and delegate where possible.
- Identify your most essential tasks. These should be the things you absolutely have to get done to keep your business afloat. For me, that’s responding to new client inquiries, processing client contract, and ensuring my DJs get to their weddings. That’s it. Your business will obviously vary, but your essential task list shouldn’t include more than a few items. I promise nothing terrible will happen if blogging, networking, or any of the other “extras” fall by the wayside while you rest and recover.
- Take stock of your resources. What, or whom, do you have at your disposal to help with these essential tasks? Do you have a colleague, assistant or contractor that might be able to fulfill some of your responsibilities? If not, consider a virtual assistant or even training your partner or a family member on the basics. Perhaps some of your essential tasks can also be automated – email auto-responders and online payment processing systems are just two examples.
- Be honest; be human. Don’t be afraid to let your clients and colleagues know when you need to take a little time off for personal reasons. You don’t need to get too specific, of course, but don’t be afraid to let people know when you need a little extra time or can’t take on as much as usual. The decent folks out there will understand, and those who aren’t decent? Well, you probably don’t want to work with (or for) them anyway.
- Let it go. This phrase is probably the biggest cliché since Frozen came out, but it’s invaluable advice to business owners. Generally speaking, the world isn’t going to come to an end – and neither will your business – if you happen to drop the ball while you’re sick. Very few mistakes can’t be unmade. Remember that you are your business’ most valuable asset, and taking care of yourself should be your number one priority.
Keep these guidelines in mind and your business will thrive during any of your potential absences!